The problems that computer mediated art poses hark back to the problems that Descartes posed for us in the 16th century. Therefore what computer art presents us is a crisis in epistemology. [Click on your grant writing processors here!]
For Descartes only one kind of true knowledge existed, that was certain knowledge. For us there is only uncertain knowledge as the foundation stones of our civilization transform under our nervous feet.
What Descartes sought was truth, by the application of a right method to a search that would result in a well-ordered philosophical system.
While he doubted, he did not doubt all things.
We doubt even our own senses, paradoxing ourselves on our uncertain on our alters of uncertainty and living in the trance state that results from it.
For Descartes philosophy was a system of connected scientific truths organized in such a way that no one in their right mind could avoid the progression of truths self evident in other truths so that the only knowledge there is certain and evident knowledge provided by the one scientific method provided by the one science.
Juxtaposed to the above are the increased abstraction of art and work and the increase in mediation knowledge and more importantly the underlying implication of what constitutes knowledge.
What increasingly constitutes knowledge is no longer sensually based and is context less. Increasingly knowledge is contextualized only with great effort.
In precomputerized knowledge, belief was a seamless extension of sensory experience.
Now the body no longer acts on the world directly and relationships become mediated by information systems and the body is separated from the phenomenal by the data interface.
The mediational nature of computer art is that the image is perceived through a data interface, a symbolic medium through which effects are produced and on the basis of which one derives an interpretation of what is seen.
These symbols are abstractions experienced as remote form sensory reality. This remoteness in the new media means the produced image for which the computer artist has claims, as an aesthetic object is not felt to be legitimate, in terms of the classic art historical view. Computer art lifts the image from meaningful context where the image must be regarded as in-itself where meaning is problematic.